DISGRUNTLED Orange Central business operators say changes to the undercover parking rules are forcing customers to avoid the car park and the shopping centre.
About one third of the centre’s businesses have spoken out about the three-hour daily parking limit which they say is not being administered correctly.
Kylie Gilmour from Priceline said she received a warning ticket despite only parking in the car park for 45 minutes during the first month of the system when fines were waived.
“I don’t park here at all now, I walk all the way down to the council car park at 8pm at night in the dark because I can’t risk a fine,” she said.
“Customers who’ve got warning tickets say they feel like they’re not welcome back.”
Zeana Johnson from The Coffee Club also received a ticket despite only parking in the centre for two hours and 25 minutes while shopping at the centre on her day off.
“I’m not happy at all,” she said.
“It’s not clear and people don’t understand it.”
Both women have contested the tickets with Traffic Monitoring Services but are yet to receive a response.
Subway owner Gary Bargwanna said the centre management introduced the “pain in the neck” rules, where number plates are manually recorded by a parking officer, without any consultation.
“We’re the centre’s customers and we deal with the people,” he said.
“They should listen to us.”
Ms Johnson said she had noticed a drop in customers since the system started on March 1, but was unsure if it was coincidental.
Mr Bargwanna and Mandy Willox from Dollars and Sense agreed.
But a spokesperson for the centre’s managers Charter Hall said figures showed an increase in foot traffic since the introduction of the system with the car park “freed up for customers’ convenience”.
Mr Bargwanna said the old two-hour parking limit monitored by Orange City Council did have its problems but should have been replaced with a more “transparent and logical” system.
“If they make money from the fines it’s an incentive for them to maximise their income ... and fine as many people as they can,” he said.
Ms Johnson suggested manual number plate recording be replaced with scanners at the entry and exit.
The Charter Hall spokesperson said in the “unlikely event” that a shopper’s parking time was inaccurately monitored customers could appeal the infringement notice with Traffic Monitoring Services.
“Genuine customers are never penalised by TMS,” she said.